The Dare County Regional Airport will host a free event in celebration of the facility’s 80th anniversary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 410 Airport Road in Manteo.
An array of vintage and modern aircraft will be on display throughout the event, which will also feature several presentations about the airport’s history, historic reenactments, live music, antique cars, food trucks, a variety of vendors and a silent auction.
This event was originally scheduled for September 23, 2023, but was postponed due to Tropical Storm Ophelia.
For more information about the Dare County Regional Airport’s 80th anniversary celebration on November 18, 2023, please click here to view the event website or contact Tony Bruno at email@example.com. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the festivities, which are sponsored by The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.
History of the Dare County Regional Airport
On March 1, 1940, the Dare County Board of Commissioners appointed a committee to acquire property and begin construction of a publicly owned airport in Manteo, and construction soon began at 410 Airport Road. Following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy considered opening a Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Cape Hatteras; however, because airport construction was already underway in Manteo, the Navy selected that site to serve as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station upon its completion.
Beginning in the fall of 1942, the new facility was initially utilized by the Civil Air Patrol, whose primary task was performing anti-submarine patrols along the coastline in search of German U-boats. The Naval Auxiliary Air Station was officially commissioned on March 3, 1943, and on August 31, 1943, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard took over anti-submarine patrols.
The U.S. Navy continued special training of numerous squadrons—with the most common aircraft being F4F Wildcats, F6F Hellcats, SB2C Helldivers, TBM and TBF Avengers, PBY Catalinas and F4U Corsairs—until the air station was decommissioned after the end of World War II. In 1947, Dare County asked for the return of the airfield, and the request was granted and it was turned back over to Dare County.
Since then, the facility has been operated by a fixed-base operator and later the Dare County Airport Authority, which took over the airport in 1983 and continues to oversee the airport’s daily operations today.